NBN Co: 95 per cent now completed.
NBN Co: 95 per cent now completed.

Will we crash the internet?

THE demand on the National Broadband Network has been steadily climbing since self-isolation measures were introduced in the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Minister of Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher said today that many people are wondering if the network can cope with this surge in demand.

He said that on average, Australians download 293 Gigabytes (GB) of data a month over the fixed line network - close to 30 times the typical download amount 10 years ago.

"Now it is true that with many people now being at home all day, traffic levels on the network during the day will rise. So far, daytime traffic is up about 70 per cent - broadly in line with the daytime traffic increases observed in Italy."

A spokesperson for NBN Co confirmed the national broadband network was built to handle ever-increasing data traffic, adding that they "run 18 months ahead of the data demand curve with their network planning".

"We also brought forward additional capacity on Monday March 23, provisioning 40 per cent more capacity to retailers and their customers at no extra cost."

Mr Fletcher said that the extra capacity being implemented will apply to all its technologies across fixed line, fixed wireless and satellite.

"This ability to surge extra capacity is one way the NBN helps to deal with this rapid shift to working from home. Another way the NBN helps is that, unlike earlier generations of broadband, its services typically offer high upload speeds as well as download speeds.

"And the end-to-end experience people will get depends not just on NBN's network - it will also depend on factors like international connections, the internal corporate networks that people are connecting to, and the particular video conferencing or other application that people are using," he said.

The NBN Co spokesperson confirmed video streaming companies like Netflix have modified video streams "to have a lower impact on overall traffic volumes".

Vice president of Content Delivery at Netflix, Ken Florance said that in Europe Netflix has removed their highest bandwidth streams.

"Our goal is simple: to maintain the quality of service for our members, while supporting ISPs who are facing unprecedented strain on their networks," he said.